Russell Wangersky hopes reading at the March Hare will jumpstart his passion for writing.
Not that the St. John’s writer and journalist appears to be suffering from any writer’s block recently, but he recognizes the importance of being inspired. Being asked to participate in the Corner Brook literary festival, that’s run has branched throughout the province and beyond, is fuelling such inspiration.
The March Hare, according to its web page, was inspired by the traditional Newfoundland soup supper and the community concert, and was designed by its creators, Rex Brown and the late Al Pittman, to relieve winter doldrums.
The format of the Hare brings together various literary professionals for the different events, and Wangersky believes that is of great benefit to the writers as well as audiences.
“It’s energizing for a writer, because most writers work by themselves in a small room with their cat or dog,” he said. “This kind of event re-energizes you, because you see people are having the same problems and struggles and dealing with the same things. You don’t feel quite as alone.”
Wangersky said he has heard only good things about the popular poetry festival — including a perspective from close to home. His wife, Leslie Vryenhoek, a writer and poet, attended last year’s Hare.
He will read at Eric’s Time in Gander on March 7, in Corner Brook at the Grenfell Reading March 8 and Pittman’s Fancy March 9. He will read from his collection of short stories, “Whirl Away,” but has yet to decide which particular entries.
What he reads is sometimes a late decision, or even last minute depending on what he hears from other writers at events.
He is also looking forward to seeing western Newfoundland — “the part of the province that gets real snow instead of little bits of pretend snow.”
Wangersky is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction, the author of three books, and an editor at The Telegram newspaper in St. John’s.
He wrote fiction prior to starting his career in journalism in the 1980s, and returned to it just over a decade or so ago.
“Everybody who works in journalism is, in essence, a storyteller,” he said. “But, because the building blocks you are working with in journalism aren’t your own, the stories don’t always come to a satisfying conclusion.”
Fiction provides the opportunity to write a full story — and that ending.
“That can sometimes be a great relaxation after a day of wrestling facts, figures and opinions,” he said.
The annual event kicks off with March Hare West Friday and Saturday in Toronto, Ont., and continues with the Halifax Hare Sunday.
The run in Newfoundland begins with the East Hare in
St. John’s and the Fogo Island Hare, both March 6.
It continues across the island with Eric’s Time in Gander, the Deer Lake Hare and The Park Hare in Norris Point, all on March 7.
The March Hare begins in Corner Brook with the Grenfell Reading, Reading at Al’s Rock, Play On, and Hare Here on March 8. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, High School Hare, Stars in the Sky Morning and Pittman’s Fancy take place March 9. The festival clews up with the Sunday Soiree March 10.
The Western Star